The following is an excerpt from my new book, The Guy’s Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. This is just one of the 101 pieces of advice I offer to young guys in that book.
In the summer of 2013, Miley Cyrus came out with a song with the following lyrics:
It’s our party we can do what we want
It’s our party we can say what we want
It’s our party we can love who we want
Repeated throughout the chorus is the line:
Doing whatever we want
Wouldn’t that be nice? I guess it’s possible . . . as long as you don’t care about consequences.
Let me explain.
Miley’s philosophy doesn’t work, because it’s selfish and someone always ends up paying the price. Think about it. If you do whatever you want, then someone else doesn’t get to do what he or she wants.
Let’s say you and your friend Jeff are both staring at the last piece of cake, and you both want it. Miley’s song assures you both that you can do what you want. So Jeff says, “I can do whatever I want” and eats the entire piece of cake. Now you’re mad, because you didn’t get what you wanted.
Taking Miley’s advice to the next level, you decide you’re going to say whatever you want. “Jeff, I hate you.”
Jeff doesn’t like this, even though it’s what you wanted to say at the moment. But that’s okay, because Jeff has been eyeing your girlfriend. After all, she’s gorgeous, and Miley says you can love whoever you want. Jeff and your girlfriend both believe Miley, so they start making out.
Everyone is just doing what Miley said—“Doing whatever we want”—and nobody’s happy.
You all get in a big fight, Jeff makes an off-color remark about your girlfriend (after all, he can say what he wants, right?) and then she slaps Jeff and all three of you walk away hurt and upset . . . and you’re still hungry for cake!
What the heck happened here? Maybe Miley’s philosophy is a little shortsighted.
The Bible offers something a little less popular, but 100 percent true. It’s up to you to decide which philosophy to follow: popular . . . or true?
In an earlier chapter, we looked at Galatians 5. Let’s take a closer look at two of those verses:
Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. (Galatians 5:16–17)
Compare that wisdom to Miley’s “do what we want, say what we want, love who we want” mantra.
Imagine going through life doing exactly what you feel like doing at any moment, saying whatever you want, loving whoever you feel like loving at that moment, kissing whoever you want (even if it’s not the person you love at the moment—after all, you can do whatever you want). I think you get the idea.
Go Ahead, Answer . . .
– What are some consequences you might face if you do whatever you want?
– What are some consequences you might experience if you say whatever you want?
– What would be the result of kissing whoever you want?
– What happens when people live however they want?
– What does Paul offer in Galatians as an alternative way to live?
If we live selfish lives, we will live lonely lives. No one wants to be around people who do whatever they want.
Miley’s song isn’t the first to ever talk about doing “whatever feels good” at the moment. Sadly, this philosophy just doesn’t work. It’s selfish, it hurts others, and it eventually hurts us.
God offers us so much more when we depend on his Spirit to guide our lives. Paul shows us what our lives will produce when we let the Holy Spirit control us:
The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22–23).
It’s really up to you. You can take the selfish and lonely path, which leads to hurt all around, or you can take the Spirit-led path, allowing God to control your thinking, which results in love, joy, peace, and all those good things. Which end result sounds better to you?
A PIECE OF ADVICE FROM THE BRAND NEW BOOK, THE GUY’S GUIDE TO GOD, GIRLS, AND THE PHONE IN YOUR POCKET. GET YOUR COPY FROM JONATHAN OR ON AMAZON TODAY
[i] Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop,” © 2013 RCA Records/Sony Music Entertainment.